Toccoa Tables Yard Sale Ordinance for More Discussion

The Toccoa City Commission will take more time to look over a proposed yard sale ordinance.

City commissioners discussed the yard sale ordinance Monday at their meeting.

The proposed ordinance would limit a city resident to four yard sales in a calendar year and would require a city resident to obtain a free permit from the city prior to having their yard sale.

Toccoa City Commissioner Gail Fry said she feels that four yard sales is a fair number.

“In fairness to the businesspeople of Toccoa, if you are running every sale constantly on weekends, then you have a business and you need to get a business license,” said Fry.

In addition, she said this ordinance falls in line with yard sale ordinances in neighboring communities.

“Clarkesville allows two a year,” said Fry. “Clayton allows two a year. Cornelia allows four (per year), Lavonia allows two (per year), and Commerce allows two (per year). They all require a permit.”

Also, Toccoa’s proposed yard sale ordinance would only allow yard sales in the city to be held on residential properties, banning them on vacant lots and on lots where there is a structure used primarily for any use other than residential purposes.

Some people said they have a problem with the ordinance.

Kenneth Hancox said he lives in unincorporated Stephens County and brings his items to a lot on Currahee Street every weekend with the permission of the property owner.

He said he does not feel that causes any problems.

“The place I live is on a dead end road and the only people that come by my house are the people who live behind me,” said Hancox. “There are three houses down there. What am I supposed to do? I use this money to pay bills.”

Others also said the city should not be able to tell someone they cannot have a yard sale on private property.

The ordinance would allow religious and charitable 501c3 organizations to have yard sales on the property of the organization or at other locations within the city with the expressed written consent of the owner of the property where the yard sale is being conducted.

A number of other people spoke in favor of some regulations.

One resident who said some regulations are needed said that all of the yard sales on Big A Road some weekends make it look like “a third-world country.”

All five city commissioners expressed support for implementing some controls on yard sales.

However, Toccoa Vice-Mayor Andy Pavliscsak said that while he supports an ordinance, he feels the commission needs to spend a little more time working on it before adopting anything.

“Clayton’s (ordinance) I think and Cornelia’s say the party having the yard sale shall be responsible for the peace and order at the sale,” said Pavliscak. “We do not have anything like that in our ordinance. Our ordinance does not address enforcement. Most ordinances have an enforcement clause in them.”

Saying he wanted to get something in place to help start controlling the issue, City Commissioner Terry Carter made a motion to approve the ordinance immediately, but without a permitting requirement. That motion failed 3-2, with Carter and Fry voting for the motion and Pavliscak, Commissioner Ron Seib, and David Austin voting against.

Commissioners then unanimously agreed to submit their questions, concerns, or comments regarding the ordinance to the city manager in order to revise the ordinance and discuss it further next month.